Skip to content

2023 White House Forum on AA and NHPIs: Advancing Justice Through Data Equity

In celebration of #AANHPIHeritageMonth this year, AAPI Data was honored to participate in two panels relating to #DataEquity as part of the White House Forum held on May 3, 2023. 

In the first panel, led by Founder and Co-Director of AAPI Data, Karthick Ramakrishnan, we hear from federal agency representatives, including Meina Banh from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rachel Marks from the U.S. Census Bureau, Jordan Matsudaira from the U.S. Department of Education, and Jim Walker from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In the second panel, led by National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Gregg Orton, we hear from community organization leaders and researchers, including Fontane Lo from AAPI Data, Kham Moua from Southeast Asia Resource Center (SEARAC), Ninez Ponce from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Neil Ruiz from Pew Research Center.

Scroll down to read about the key takeaways from federal agencies in panel one and community organizations leaders and researchers in panel two.

Panel One – Federal Agencies:

Timestamp: 23:08 | Meina Banh, Deputy Director, Office of Financial Education, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

  • CFPB Initiatives on data disaggregation:
    1. In March 2023, CFPB finalized a rule to increase transparency in small business lending to promote economic development and combat unlawful discrimination.
    2. CFPB also strengthened the collection of demographic data on home mortgages through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. They have collected detailed race and ethnic information since 2018.
    3. In 2021, CFPB released a comprehensive report on the experiences of AAPIs: Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the Mortgage Market.

Timestamp: 30:11 | Rachel Marks, Chief of Racial Statistics Branch, Population Division, Census Bureau

  1. The Census Bureau has introduced new codes, such as Central Asian, to the Decennial Census and American Community Survey, enabling more comprehensive and disaggregated data collection.
  2. In the years spanning from 2017 to 2021, the Bureau will release five-year special population tables in June, offering detailed statistics for various disaggregated Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) groups. Additionally, a Detailed DHC-A (Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A ) will be released, providing population counts and other characteristics for specific race and ethnic groups such as Filipino, Chamorro, Pakistani, and others.
  3. The Census Bureau will also unveil Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File B (Detailed DHC-B), which includes housing data specific to detailed AANHPI groups, contributing to more accurate and inclusive data collection efforts.

Timestamp: 36:17 | Jordan Matsudaira, Deputy Under Secretary and Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Education

  1. The U.S. Department of Education’s longitudinal surveys will have disaggregated race categories (by six most populous AA and NHPI subgroups).
  2. In 2020, Congress authorized the department to collect race and ethnicity information in detail on FAFSA applications for the first time. 
  3. The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with the Census Bureau to examine student loan program and to understand inequities by race/ethnicity better.

Timestamp: 42:58 | Jim Walker, Economist, Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

  1. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is committed to making disaggregated Asian American data more accessible. The BLS holds regular monthly meetings to discuss ways of making data more readily available to the public.
  2. Using the Current Population Survey (CPS), the BLS has been collecting monthly unemployment rate data for Asian Americans since 2000.  Currently, the data is available for specific Asian American groups, such as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
  3. Going forward, the BLS is committed to publishing disaggregated monthly data for Asian Americans. The BLS welcomes community inquiries and feedback on how they can better serve the needs of the diverse Asian American population.

Panel Two – Community Organization Leaders and Researchers

Timestamp: 50:26 | Fontane Lo, Deputy Director, AAPI Data

  1. Fontane Lo is the newly appointed Deputy Director of AAPI Data. As an applied researcher and former funder, Fontane has firsthand experience in understanding community needs and power imbalances in research. 
  2. AAPI Data’s approach involves rigorous data analysis, community engagement, and action, advocating for better data infrastructure and directing resources to AAPI communities. In addition to disaggregated data, AAPI Data conducts original research like the State of Nonprofit Study, aiming to support AAHPI-serving nonprofits and build a comprehensive database of these organizations across the country.

Timestamp: 56:55 | Kham Moua, National Deputy Director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

  1. Kham Moua is the National Deputy Director at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), an organization focused on supporting Southeast Asian refugee populations from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. SEARAC advocates for data equity and recognizes the unique experiences of Southeast Asian refugees who faced war and genocide and arrived in the US with little to start their lives anew. 
  2. Southeast Asian organizations are generally smaller and lack resources for federal engagement, so SEARAC works to ensure their voices are heard and represented in policy-making processes. For example:
    • Detailed data has revealed challenges faced by Hmong American students, who still have low academic achievement in Minnesota despite being the largest Asian American student population in the state. 
    • Census data products are expanding to include populations like the Myan and Montagnard, representing a monumental advancement in recognizing smaller communities.
  3.  Detailed data is a critical part of SEARAC’s work. To achieve data equity, it is essential for the federal government to partner with smaller organizations and engage directly with diverse populations, like the Hmong population in the Ozarks or the Montagnard population in North Carolina, ensuring their experiences are recognized and acknowledged.

Timestamp: 1:02:58 | Ninez Ponce, Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

  1. Ninez Ponce, an academic and former advocate, highlights her work on data equity in health policy research, particularly focusing on marginalized and minoritized populations. She leads the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), a representative health survey conducted in multiple languages, aiming to include voices of diverse communities, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). 
  2. To address the challenges of gathering adequate NHPI data, Ponce’s team employs strategies such as special surveys and outreach through community engagement. She emphasizes the importance of differential access for smaller populations and calls for sampling frame availability to improve probability-based insights for NHPI populations.

Timestamp: 1:11:50 | Neil Ruiz, Head of New Research Initiatives, Pew Research Center

  1. Neil Ruiz, representing Pew Research Center, emphasizes the importance of data for understanding diverse populations and making informed decisions for democracies to function effectively. 
  2. Pew Research Center has conducted a comprehensive study of Asian Americans, including demographic analysis, qualitative research through focus groups, and a large nationally representative survey with over 7,000 Asian Americans. 
  3. The research aims to portray the diversity of experiences and circumstances within the Asian American community. Pew Research Center plans to continue its efforts by including Asian Americans in its regular American Trends panel. Moving forward, Pew Research Center is interested in undertaking a similar endeavor to understand Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations to depict their voices and experiences more accurately.